Tommy's Release Date

Since you asked, Tommy will be returning to Beaverton on October 25, 2012.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Last one... crazy!

I'm not exactly sure why, but it really hasn't hit me that my mission is over yet...and I don't think it will until friday morning when I wake up in my bed in Oregon. We've got some awesome lessons tonight, and we're excited to get some more work done before I have to go home.  This area is really picking up, and I'm excited to hear what happens here in the next few months.

This sunday was crazy!! They all found out that it was my last week, and decided to make me do EVERYTHING...but I enjoyed it :D.  First of all, we were just barely able to obtain a system to do live translating of the speakers in sacrament meeting for those who come to sacrament meeting who don't speak spanish, and they had me translating that part.  They also had me conducting all of the Hymns.  Then, there were a couple of talks in english, and I had to go up to the podium and translate their talks (First they say a sentence or two in english, and then I repeat it all in spanish over the pulpit, and then it continues.  I was pretty much running back and forth from the translating thing, to conducting, and back to translating...it was pretty exciting! And at the end, they asked me to come up and share my testimony.  It was a pretty wonderful experience.  My back has been doing a lot better......until today. We went out to Duchesne this morning and played basketball and Volleyball (I didn't participate in that latter because of my overwhelming dislike for the "sport") and I strained my back a little bit. Not too bad though. I'm still fully functioning this time.  I guess I'll just have to take some time this next week or two when I get back to lay on the couch and watch football or something :P  Everyone always says: "You can rest/sleep after your mission!"  I never thought I would actually be needing to do that, but I guess I will.  Unfortunately, we're running behind, and I've gotta get going, but I just want to end saying how much of an incredible experience this really has been.  It has been exactly what I needed. It's incredible how customized this experience has been to ME. I have grown sooooo much, and I may not be ready to move on to the next phase of life, but I have been well prepared an am excited to continue on.  This gospel is so incredible, I could never give it up for anything.

Love to all!
Elder Williams

Monday, October 15, 2012

UPDATE!

Heads up!  This is the last week to send anything in the mail to Elder Williams.  He is coming back and will be reconnecting with all of you as soon as he is able.  Thank you for your love, support, letters, notes and prayers.  ~Mom Williams

October 15, 2012

This week has been pretty interesting! We spent the week "lowering the cane" on a bunch of investigators, dropping a few, finding a bunch more, and seeing miracles! and all of that happened while I was suffering through a really badly pulled back.  It all started about two weeks ago when we helped people move for about 3 days straight and I strained my back pretty badly.  After that went on for about a week, I went to go play raquetball with a couple of other missionaries, and twisted my back really bad.  Then the next morning I went and played basketball and pulled my back.  then a couple of days later when I was in Roosevelt with some other missionaries, I pulled my back again really badly playing basketball once again.  Needless to say, I will not be playing basketball this week, and I feel like an old man.  It's really annoying having a pulled lower back. I'm not sure I realized how often we make use of that wonderful part of our bodies. Now, no matter how I sit, or where I sit, my back hurts. and of course this all had to happen on my last week when I want to play basketball with EVERYONE! but that's alright.

In addition to that, some hilarious things have happened this week! When I was on splits with the spanish elders in Roosevelt, they had to fill up their truck (pick-up truck) with gas.  While we were there we decided to take it through the car wash we had there. Elder Johnson was driving, I was in the passenger seat (with my backpack at my feet), and Elder Taylor was in the back seat.  As we entered the car-wash, Elder Taylor commenced to tell us that the last time he went to that car-wash, he was with his last companion Elder Guzman, and about half-way through the car wash Elder Guzman says: "Oh CRAP! OUR BACKPACKS ARE IN THE BACK!" And he got out (in the middle of the car wash) to rescue the sopping back-packs.  Elder Taylor finished telling the story, and we all laughed pretty hard, and then about 10 seconds later, Elder Taylor says: "OH CRAP! MY BACKPACK!!!" and Elder Johnson says: "What?! OH FREAK MINE TOO!!!" and Elder Taylor jumped out (half-way through the car-wash once again) to rescue the sopping, soapy backpacks.  That might just have been the most ironic moment of my life! I was glad to have my back-pack safely seated with me in the front seat :D

Another fun moment came when we were eating lunch the next morning.  They have 4 missionaries that live together in that apartment, and we were playing scripture golf while we ate.  Elder Johnson says, "I'll be right back" and goes to the back room.  Then he comes back about 15 seconds later with the phone: "Oh crap! They're coming to do apartment inspections this morning!" Then he goes over to the front window and looks out: "OH CRAP! THEY'RE HERE!!!!" And all 4 of them start scrambling to clean up the apartment! It wasn't too messy, but they definitely could have used a half an hours notice.  Fun moments with other missionaries! :D

The next day when Elder Lopez and I finally got back to our area, we had some really cool experiences with new people. It's really good because we've been struggling to find new people.  There's a couple that we've been wanting to meet for a long time, who are the neighbors of a recent convert lady, and on friday, we showed up to share a quick spiritual thought with the recent convert, and the couple was there with their kids! We taught them a wonderful first lesson and have a return appointment! They were really excited to learn, and to apply this stuff in their lives! I think they've been having some problems lately, and are excited for a change in their routine.  Apart from that, it's been really fun to go around town, and have basically all of the kids know exactly who we are! Since we went to visit all of the seminary classes, kids have been really excited to see us, and to talk with us. It's been pretty cool. We often hear "HEY! IT'S THE SPANISH MISSIONARIES!" fun stuff.  Apart from that, there is a wonderful program called the "Daily Dose program" here in the mission.  What happens, is that retired couples can apply to, and be called as Daily Dose missionaries. Their purpose and role is to go in to the houses of the people who don't speak english, and to teach them english with the program that the church has established.  This is especially useful to help us find new investigators, because the older retired couples go in to houses where the people would usually not be very receptive to our message, and soften the hearts of the people. One of the lessons is even on how to pray in english! Then, after their hearts have been softened, we are invited in to the home, and we can teach them the gospel.  It's a wonderful program! And even if they don't accept us (the full time missionaries), they can keep taking the classes, no commitment required.  Well, there used to be one retired couple, and then they called another, and these two couples got so excited that they talked with their stake presidents, and got 3 more couples called! Now this is pretty dang crazy. Especially since for some reason, they expect US to be the ones to go find them people to teach english to.....and we were kinda about to freak out because we don't even really have time to find ourselves investigators, let alone time to find people for others to teach, but then we were talking with one of our ward mission leaders for a new ward (a ward just got split, and some boundaries got readjusted) and this new ward just got an apartment complex with about 120 apartments, plus about 100 town homes, with MANY spanish people.  The ward mission leader wants to get out and get to know everybody, and was VERY excited about the option of taking these wonderful new and excited daily dose missionaries around to all of the doors to see if they can't get some students for them. It's exactly what all parties needed, at exactly the right time.  It's incredible how God's timing works so perfectly every time :D

Well, I gotta go! This should be a really good week. I think that we actually get to stay in our area all week! (Not including a couple short unexpected trips to Provo of course.....) Should be a wonderful, miracle filled week!

Love to all!
Elder Williams

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Look who I found!

I accidentally (it really was an accident, I promise!) found Elder Williams on Temple Square right after the Saturday Morning Session of Conference!  I feel like he's taller... but maybe my perception is skewed!  Excited to see him again in 2 WEEKS! :)


Monday, October 8, 2012

October 8, 2012

This week - just as crazy, if not even more crazy than last week. Quick review of the week.  Monday= p-day. Also, went to Provo to pick up Elder Lambert's new companion. We were going to get another missionary who's waiting for his Visa to go to Spain, but apparently he broke his leg, and is being kept in the MTC till he heals.  Anyways, then we got back to Heber, and went to the Spanish branch's family home evening.  Tuesday we went to Provo for a Zone Leader meeting, came back, planned a zone meeting for Wednesday, and taught a couple lessons. Wednesday, Elder Lambert was sick, so we went on splits with them (Elder Lopez was also not feeling so well) and Elder Bird and I went out to work. We taught 2 wonderful lessons in our area, and spent some time in their area as well, then had a correlation meeting.  On Thursday and Friday, we had a really incredible opportunity.  About a month ago, I got an idea, so we talked with the resident Stake President, got it approved, then talked with the seminary president at the local high school (Wasatch High), and then all of the seminary faculty, and on Thursday and Friday, between 6:30 and 2:30 we went in and gave a 15-25 minute presentation to all 900 and something seminary students in 33 seminary classes at the high school.  Two other companionship were supposed to come and help us out in the effort, but both cancelled the night before, which left us teaching between 3-4 seminary classes each period on Thursday, and then on Friday for a total of 15 classes.  Fortunately on Friday we got some help and finished out the other 18 classes. It was a wonderful experience teaching and testifying to the youth about missionary work, and how to be member missionaries, as well as the wonderful opportunity that they have to do that here.  There were even some non-members in some of the seminary classes, as well as recent converts, and many tears were shed before the end of the classes.  For some reason we felt that we needed to do all of that right before conference weekend, and I think it was wonderful timing!  Right after the last class on Friday, we went in to Provo to pick up Claudia (the 12 passenger van) and then ate dinner, and drove straight out to Roosevelt, picked up the missionaries who would be coming with us to the Saturday morning session of Conference in Salt Lake, and then drove back in to Provo, and stayed the night in the Mission Home.  The next morning, we all loaded up, and drove up to Salt Lake, and got to watch the first session of Conference.  Must I say, It is such an incredible opportunity to be there. I caught myself crying many times during the meeting (especially since the missionaries get to sit all the way up in the front, on the very right. Right where all of the general authorities and their family come in). President Monson is incredible. He really knows how to MOVE! He doesn't waste any time whatsoever coming in, and then on his way out, he pushed his wife out in her wheelchair.  Anyways, afterwards, we went out, took some pictures in the conference center, and then went to go walk around temple square. Right as we walked in to temple square, I saw Kimberly standing there! That was pretty cool.  Anyways, eventually we loaded up, and went back to Provo. Unfortunately, they needed Claudia (the 12 person van) to get Elders to the 6 o clock Priesthood session of conference, and there was not time for us to take all of the elders and sisters back out to Roosevelt and get back before they would need the van, so we stayed in Provo to watch the other two sessions. Then at about 10 o clock, they finally arrived back with the van from Salt Lake, and we loaded up again, and drove back out to Roosevelt. We pulled in just after mid-night.  Then we got to enjoy the 2 hour ride back in to Provo, because they needed the van again early the next morning.  We arrived at the mission home at about 2:30 am, Sunday morning (it took some extra time because I was drinking a lot, and we had to make some stops, as well as stopping in Heber to grab some stuff we'd forgotten, and then filling up the 30 gallon tank as soon as we got back to Provo. And we got to sleep at about 3. The next morning, we went and watched the first session of conference in the home of some recent converts in Orem, and then finally made our way back to our area, watched the next session at a non-member family's house, went back to our place, and crashed.  Our dinner appointment cancelled, so we got a couple hours of sleep in, then dragged ourselves out of bed, and finally got to teach a couple of final lessons.  WHAT A WEEK!!  I have felt the Love of God sooo much this week, but I gotta admit, I'm pretty drained both physically, and emotionally, while being completely spiritually filled.  I wouldn't give it up for the world!  Fortunately, this next week we'll actually be able to be in our area for 5 of the 7 days, and we're looking forward to pounding some doors.

This gospel is true.  I feel it every time I testify of it.  I love this work so much. Anyone who does not believe in these things, must not have taken the time and energy to understand the things we preach. Many people think that they KNOW, but do not UNDERSTAND. There's a massive difference. I now know, and understand, and my understanding grows every single day.

Love to all!
Elder Williams

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 1, 2012

Holy crazy week!! Here's the list of all the driving we got to do this week: Wednesday morning, from Heber to American Fork for Zone Leader Council with Elder Kolliker (1st quorum of the 70), then to Provo, pick up transfer van, drive out to Roosevelt, pick up missionaries, drive back to Provo, stay the night in Provo. Thursday morning, drive to Orem, Zone Conference with Elder Kolliker, Drive to Roosevelt, drop off missionaries, drive to Provo, drop off van, drive back to Heber.  Thursday, follow-up ZLC with Elder Kolloker in Provo, drive back to Heber. Saturday, A couple from the Spanish branch in Heber got sealed, and there was a baptism in Provo, so we drove to Provo, then back to Heber. Sunday was nice, we got to stay in Heber all day.  Today, we have to go to Provo to pick up a couple new missionaries. and tomorrow we have another meeting in Provo we have to go to.  I calculated all of the driving time from this last week, and figured out that if I had used all that time to just drive home, I would have easily gotten home with all that time, even if I drove the speed limit :D  haha, but I'm still here, and we had some cool things happen this week.  First of all, we've been in a trio which has been pretty exciting.  Unfortunately, Elder Lambert who has been with us, is getting a new companion today (a missionary who is waiting on his visa to go to Spain) and so he will be leaving us.  HOWEVER, we are also getting a visa waiter, so there will still be three of us! :D We leave to pick him up in Provo (about a half hour drive) in about 2 hours (there goes p-day once again).  Oh, exciting news! I finally decided to buy myself a reeses peanut butter ice cream cake for my birthday that was almost a month ago! I'm quite excited to eat it!

Ok, now for the truly good news.  About a year and a half ago (in my first area) I was teaching a couple of kids named Mario and Luis. I'm pretty sure I shared most of this story a couple weeks ago, about how they finally got baptized, well this weekend I was able to go down to Provo to see Luis baptize his dad! It was one of the more precious moments on my mission.  That family has really had a change of heart. I was talking to Mario, and he said he even caught his mom reading the Book of Mormon! They're excited to have the mom and daughter get baptized shortly.

I am SOOOOOOO excited for general conference! First of all because I get to go to the Saturday morning session! Secondly because I get to drive the massive 12 passenger van to it, and thirdly, because it's GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!! :D  I always get sooo pumped up during these things.  Especially as a missionary.

If you get some time, you should go look up the talk "A Teacher Sent from God" by Elder Holland from 1998. I listened to it recently, and completely agree with it, and absolutely LOVE many things that he teaches! I HIGHLY suggest it.

Many other miracles have been happening lately, and I apologize that I'm slightly too distracted to think of them at this moment, but we really have had some awesome stuff happen lately.  I really enjoy being a missionary here in Utah. I feel so much love and support. The gospel is true, and it burns within me.

Elder Williams